BOSTON – Elon University men’s basketball battled back from deficits late in the first and second half to force overtime for the second time against Northeastern this season, but the Huskies pulled away in the final five minutes and prevailed with a 72-60 victory on Saturday night, Feb. 9, inside Matthews Arena.
Elon (8-18, 4-9 CAA) had four players score in double figures. Steven Santa Ana led the way with a team-high tying 12 points, seven rebounds, a career-high six steals, and a team-best four assists. Sheldon Eberhardt also added 12 points for grabbed six rebounds. Additionally, Kris Wooten added 11 and four rebounds, while Federico Poser chipped in 10 points and six rebounds off the bench.
Northeastern (15-9, 9-3 CAA) was paced by 64 combined points from Vasa Pusica, Jordan Roland and Bolden Brace. Pusica tallied a game-high 23 points, while Roland added 21 and Brace scored 20 as part of his double-double that included a game-high 14 rebounds.
After Northeastern held the early advantage, the Phoenix took its first lead of the game on Kris Wooten’s three-pointer at the 16:39 mark, which gave Elon an 8-6 advantage. The maroon and gold would then take three-point advantages twice in the next three minutes, with the last coming after Seibring’s three put Elon on top 16-13 with 13:11 remaining in the half.
Following Elon’s 23-22 lead with 8:13 left in the first, Northeastern mounted a 10-0 run that extended to 12-1 in the next five minutes to take a 34-24 lead following Brace’s layup at the 3:16 mark. Undaunted, the Phoenix used an 11-0 surge over the final minutes of the half, capped off by Santa Ana’s floater to beat the buzzer, and Elon took 35-34 lead at the break.
In the second half, Northeastern responded to Nathan Priddy’s opening bucket with a 7-0 run to take a 41-37 lead following Roland’s dunk and three-point play at 15:02. Elon came back to tie up the contest twice over the next two minutes with the second coming off Santa Ana’s triple at 13:05 to knot up the score at 44-44. The Huskies responded with an 8-0 run to take a 52-44 lead at 8:44 following Pusica’s jumper.
Elon battled back to make it a two-point deficit, 56-54, with 5:22 left in regulation after Eberhardt’s layup on the fast break. Northeastern created an extra basket of cushion to take a 60-56 lead with 2:49 on the clock, but a layup by Wooten and Santa Ana’s driving bucket at the 1:57 mark tied up the contest at 60-60. Each team got chances to take the lead with the final opportunity coming from Pusica of NU at the buzzer, but his attempt hit the rim and the game went to overtime.
Northeastern was able to hold the Phoenix scoreless during the entire overtime period, forcing Elon to 0-9 from the floor, and went on to earn the 72-60 victory. For the entire contest, the Huskies limited the Phoenix to just 35.2 percent (25-71) from the floor and 22.6 percent (7-31) from three-point range. Northeastern also held a 46-39 edge on the boards.
The Phoenix returns to Schar Center next week on Saturday, Feb. 16, to face off against William & Mary at 7 p.m. The game between the Phoenix and the Tribe is the second of two single-week meetings between the two teams this season with the Colonial Athletic Association’s move to travel partners this year.